Randolph Scott, 1898-1987: The Last of the Mohicans, 1936; Jesse James, 1939; ‘Gung Ho!’: The Story of Carlson’s Makin Island Raiders, 1943; Home, Sweet Homicide, 1946; Christmas Eve (his last non-western film, this of his own choosing, he said he felt uncomfortable outside of westerns), 1947; Rage at Dawn, 1955; Seven Men from Now, 1956 and Ride the High Country (his last, his best and one of the best of the western genre), 1962. Scott made one watchable, tense western after another in the 1950’s, seeming to produce because of his age not in spite of it. Always a good choice for Film-Noir or a thriller but at his best with a gun at his hand.
Franklin Pangborn, 1889-1958: a one note character actor who needed sound as much as the local cinema. He put his talent to use in more than 200 movies: International House (W. C. Fields’ vehicle), 1933; Flying Down to Rio, 1933; Mr. Deeds Goes to Town and My Man Godfrey, 1936; Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, 1938. It was in the years of 1940 and 1941 that Pangborn hit his stride with film-making genius Preston Sturges, Christmas in July and Sullivan’s Travels, also catching the W. C. fields’ wave with The Bank Dick and Never Give a Sucker an Even Break, in those same years. 1942 saw 3 classics added to his resume: Now, Voyager, George Washington Slept Here and The Palm Beach Story, clearly becoming a favorite of Preston Sturges, Franklin Pangborn matching to the finest point of Sturges’ comic style he was cast in Hail the Conquering Hero, and Preston Sturges’ drama – The Great Moment, 1944. 1947 saw his roles in Calendar Girl and The Sin of Harold Diddlebock (once more time with Sturges) and in 1948 Romance on the High Seas. Franklin Pangborn, a true “character” actor, almost always snooty and snotty.
Sergei M. Eisenstein, 1898-1948: an outstanding directorial talent with one of a kind eye for the minutest of details: Battleship Potemkin (an historical film, not only for history but for the process of making movies), 1925; October: Ten Days that Shook the World (another classic), 1928; Alexander Nevsky (I know I am overusing the word “classic” in this post, but classic again), 1938; Ivan the Terrible, Part I, 1948 and Ivan the Terrible, Part II, 1958, both as “need to be seen” films.
Bob Steele, 1907-1988: a long silent-film list, moving into B-movies stardom while making appearances in a couple of Hollywood classics: Of Mice and Men, 1939 and The Big Sleep, 1946.
Irene Sharaff, 1910-1993: 16 Academy Award nominations, 5 Oscars on her shelf, a monumental career for this sometimes Art Director (2 credits, including a Academy Award nomination for A Star is Born, 1954) and 24 films as Costume Designer making every movie count, with 15 of the 24 nominated for Oscars. Looking at some of the films not nominated for an Academy Award: Meet Me in St. Louis (should have been nominated), 1944; Yolanda and the Thief, 1845; The Best Years of Our Lives, 1946; The Bishop’s Wife (elegant costuming), 1947; The Sandpiper, 1961. From An American in Paris, 1951 (strangely not listed on her IMDB profile to West Side Story and Flower Drum Song, in 1961, all nine of the movies that she worked on received Oscar nominations and garnering 2 wins for The King and I, 1956 and the aforementioned West Side Story, 1961. An unbelievable, “only in Hollywood story” for this, shall we say, costumier’s costumer.
Ernie Kovacs, 1919-1962: a man of rare comedic timing, many times playing the comic foil with just a slight bit of villainy. Operation Mad Ball, 1957; Bell Book and Candle, 1958; It Happened to Jane and Our Man in Havana, 1959, along with North to Alaska, in 1960, were his best ventures.
Jeanne Moreau, 1928- : truly a star of world-cinema best know for her turns in: Elevator to the Gallows, 1958; The 400 Blows and Les liaisons dangereuses, 1959; Jules and Jim and The Trial, 1962; Diary of a Chambermaid and The Train, 1964.
Sonny Chiba, 1939- : Japanese action star: Invasion of the Neptune Men and Man with the Funky Hat, 1961; Gyangu tai G-men, 1962 and Game of Chance, in 1965.
By C. S. Williams